Red Sox 6-5, FINAL: At long last, victory. The deficit is down to 5 1/2 games as the Boston offense comes through in the clutch. Now, let's see what Junichi Tazawa has Tuesday night.
End 8th, Red Sox 5-4: Due up for the Tigers: Polanco (3-for-4), Thames (1-for-4) and Cabrera (0-for-1, two walks).
10:25 p.m.: Yankees lose to the Blue Jays, 5-4. It's got to start somwehere.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-5: No fan interference this time. Martinez grabs Granderson's foul pop just in front of the wall behind home plate and Papelbon gets his man.
10:15 p.m.: Ramon Ramirez goes right to the edge in the 8th, allowing a leadoff double to Ordonez and having runners at second and third with one out. But he easily strikes out Adam Everett and here comes Jonathan Papelbon for a four-out save, facing Curtis Granderson first.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-5: Now, that's more like it. The Red Sox manufacture a run the old-fashioned way, going to the hit-and-run with one out, Drew running and Kotchman hitting, then a sacrifice fly by Green. It's been about two weeks since the Red Sox scored a key run late without the benefit of a homer.
Mid 7th, 5-5: Needless to say, the Red Sox cannot let a game like this get away, especially after blowing late leads in two of the six losses coming in. The Yankees are losing in the 8th to Toronto, so there's that incentive, as well.
9:52 p.m.: Manny Delcarmen for Nick Johnson looks better and better each day. We're tied 5-5 on a Marcus Thames double with two outs that was nearly a two-run homer.
9:40 p.m.: Brad Penny is done after six. Manny Delcarmen is in, and he allows a leadoff double to Gerald Laird. Buckle up!
End 6th, Red Sox 5-3: The Red Sox leave another runner in scoring position. Only 1 of the 5 runs has scored without the benefit of a homer. The offense has been prolific tonight, moreso than it has in a week, but it still isn't terribly productive.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-3: Penny has his best inning of the night, setting the side in order with a strikeout. That's six in a row overall with two strikeouts. Penny is at 93 pitches. Could tonight be the first full seven? Good time for it.
End 5th, Red Sox 5-3: Jason Bay gets one back with his 22nd homer, a fly to left that settled into the corner by the pole. Bay makes the eighth starter with at least one hit. Only Victor Martinez is an 0-fer.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-3: The Tigers chip away with another run, as Curtis Granderson doubles and scores on a sac fly to right. In-between, Placido Polanco grounded out to short, and Green appeared to have a play on Granderson going to third, but elected to throw to first. Might have been the difference in a run.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-2: Edwin Jackson isn't long for this game, having already topped 100 pitches, but he does deliver a parting shot. After Penny hit Miguel Cabrera with a pitch in the top half of the inning, Jackson drills Youkilis with two outs and nobody on. Youkilis didn't like it, but their were no warnings, allowing baseball justice to be handed out on the field — unlike last Thursday in New York.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-2: Penny hits his first obstacle, allowing two runs, in no small part because of a Drew misplay on right, turning a Ordonez single into an RBI triple by letting the ball get past him and into the right field corner. A reminder that the offense still needs to cash in its opportunities.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: A potential rally stalls, but at least the failure rate is only 33 percent tonight. The Sox have stranded six through three innings.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: Penny has allowed a hit in every inning, but has managed to stay economical, benefitting from an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to remain at 42 pitches.
End 2nd, Red Sox 4-0: All the signs are pointing in the right direction. Even David Ortiz, 1-for-26 and 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position, drives in Ellsbury from third with a two-out single to right. We'll even give Papi a pass for being tagged out for rounding first too wide. Just keep hitting, big man. The Red Sox already have twice as many runs in two inngins than the previous 33 combined.
8 p.m.: Nick Green leads off the second with a homer to left to make it 3-0. The Red Sox have six hits and a walk in their first 10 plate appearances. The tide may be turning.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Hopefully this time it's not a tease, but Penny has been solid through two, stranding a leadoff double by Magglio Ordonez. It appeared a fan along the first-base line was injured by a line drive foul ball. Hopefully, it wasn't too serious.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Sometimes, it just takes one good break. Jacoby Ellsbury leads off with a slice down the left-field line. Marcus Thames has to dive, but appears to have the ball sized up. But no, Thames cannot hold it, and Ellsbury has a double. Suddenly, the hits come in bunches.
Pedroia homers, then Youkilis and J.D. Drew single. But old habits die hard. Casey Kotchman lines out to second with the bases loaded to end the inning. Still, Jackson needed 33 pitches to get out of the inning. Little victories.
7:28 p.m.: A sign of life from the offense. Dustin Pedroia, the human fly-out this weekend in New York, hits a big fly in Boston. 2-0 Sox in the first.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Hey, idiot fan in the blue shirt, when Victor Martinez is trying to make the catch in the front row behind the plate, you get out of the way. We don't need Brad Penny having to get four outs in an inning.
Penny allows a one-out single before Marcus Thames fouled out. Penny then allows a t-out walk, but gets Carlos Guillen on his 18th pitch.
6:30 p.m.: A shake-up in the lineup tonight, with Jason Bay dropped to seventh, behind David Ortiz and J.D. Drew, both of whom are 6-for-14 (.429) in their careers against Jackson. Bay is 3-for-8 (.375). Casey Kotchman plays first, Kevin Youkilis at third and Mike Lowell (.238 vs.. Jackson) sits.
3:45 p.m.: So, where do we go from here? A horrific week came to a bitter end Sunday night, as the Red Sox snatched defeat from the jaws of a rejuvenating victory in the eighth inning. Everything that went wrong during the six-game losing streak played a role in Sunday's game.
Anemic hitting with runners in scoring position, a fatal hiccup from rookie Daniel Bard — who look poised and polished the week leading up to Evan Longoria — and some head-scratching non-moves by the manager. If it could go wrong, it did, and now it's the wild card that's the only race in town, and that one isn't going so great, either.
But home is where the broken hearts are tonight. On the positive side, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and, perhaps finally, Clay Buchholz are pitching more-than-well enough to win. Outside of Bard, the bullpen has been solid. They can't hit .187 as a team forever, can they? Maybe the friendly confines will warm the bats and calm the nerves.
But the schedule remains an obstacle. Now, it's Detroit for four, with Edwin Jackson and his 2.62 ERA and 1.12 WHIP leading things off tonight, then back to Texas for three enormous games against a team that swept them at the Ballpark in Arlington three weeks ago. Now, we find out if 2009 is going to remain 2009, or become 2006 all over again.